It’s Travel Exchange time, and I’m thrilled to have on the blog today Jess, who tells us all about her family vacation to Turks and Caicos. In case you missed it, the Travel Exchange is a new series and resource where families share their travel experiences. You can read what it’s all about, as well as the very first Travel Exchange post on Costa Rica, here.
Back to paradise! Turks and Caicos has long been a place I’ve wanted to go, for all the same reasons everyone else does – it’s beautiful with its turquoise water and white sand beaches, it’s supremely relaxing, and it’s very family-friendly. When Jess told me she and her family were going to Beaches Resort at Turks & Caicos, I immediately lined her up for an interview. I’ve long heard that this Beaches is the ultimate family vacation resort, for so many reasons. After hearing Jess’s run-down, it sounds about as perfect as they come! Below is my Q and A with Jess.
How did you decide on Beaches Turks and Caicos for your family vacation?
Our good friends went 2 years ago and since then we’ve heard other family friends rave about the property. We wanted an easy and relaxing vacation. With 3 young children who eat around the clock, we didn’t want to take out any cash for a week or prepare one meal! Success!
Myself, my husband and our 3 young children ages 2, 4, and 7.
What types of amenities were there? How were the rooms? Was it an all-inclusive?
Beaches is an all-inclusive resort. We stayed in a walkout family suite with kid’s bedroom, it was amazing. The kids had a bunkroom. They had bunk beds with a trundle bed so 3 twin beds. The room was very spacious, we brought a travel crib and it fit in the bunkroom with plenty of room to spare. Our room was very spacious with a king bed and walkout onto the patio.
We stayed in the Italian village (Beaches Turks and Caicos property has 4 villages, Italian, French, Caribbean and Key West). Italian village is centrally located in the middle of everything, it also has the largest pool and it’s on the water. The French village is also nice although it’s not on the water. The waterpark is located in the French village as well as the stage where the Sesame Street show is every night as well as the nightly entertainment shows, which are at 8:00.
The Caribbean village (also on the water) is the oldest of the villages. It had a smaller pool, playground and the kid’s camp (free) is also located in the Caribbean village. To us, the Caribbean village (mainly the hotel buildings) looked dated. The lobby also looked a little dated. The Key West village is the newest village on the property. While it doesn’t have a large main pool, it does have small pools throughout including an infinity pool and several private pools. The rooms in the Key West Village are suites and villas. It’s more of a quieter, low-key village.
We loved the Italian village for our family!
What kind of activities did you do on the trip?
We had tough choices to make each day: beach, pool (choice of 6 different ones) or water park. We stayed on property with the exception of one offsite mermaid excursion which was fantastic!
Beaches offers unlimited water sports. We took advantage of the glass bottom boat tour one morning, which was a lot of fun. The kids enjoyed seeing all of the underwater sea creatures and it was just so beautiful being out on the water. The resort also offers snorkeling tours, kayaks, hydrobikes, windsurfing, paddle boarding, Hobie cats and scuba diving. We would have done a lot more but the first 5 days we were there was a little rough and they weren’t allowing any water sports. There are also water trampolines at the resort but aren’t owned by Beaches so that was an additional fee ($10/hour), which was well worth it. My kids had a blast!
What were the highlights for you? And the kids?
It’s hard to choose, as the whole trip was a highlight. The water park was a blast and the beach was so relaxing. We really loved the nightly entertainment, the fire show one night was incredible. The mermaid/submarine tour was a big highlight as well. The beach party was a blast and definitely a highlight for us all.
As for my kids, whenever I asked what their favorite part was they would all say EVERYTHING! For my 4 year old son, if he had to choose, it would be the yellow tube waterslide. My 7 year old said the highlight for her was seeing a real mermaid. Swimming without her puddle jumper was the highlight for my 2 year old.
Did you do anything off-resort or was everything on site?
We did one excursion off-resort. It was a submarine mermaid adventure and it was awesome! It was a semi-submarine so once you went downstairs you were literally on the ocean floor, it was better than snorkeling. My kids went wild when they saw a real mermaid. It was 5 minutes away and the tour was only an hour (longest we wanted to be away from our resort; )
What were the meals and restaurants like?
The meals were great! My husband and I have been to a few all-inclusive vacations to the Caribbean (before kids) and Beaches Turks & Caicos blew all of the other resorts out of the water. The food was delicious. With 22 restaurants to choose from, no one ever went hungry. My oldest daughter ordered filet for dinner every night. We made sure to try as many different restaurants as we could including hibachi, Italian, sushi, seafood, Caribbean.
What we loved most about our dining experiences was how incredibly easy Beaches makes it for you. The sushi restaurant for example had no options for kids (well my kids anyway who don’t eat sushi). However, they ordered from the restaurant next door for us, which did have kid friendly options and delivered it to our table. While there were buffets, we only ate at a la carte restaurants as we found them to be the best. Occasionally we would enjoy a sit down lunch but as the week went on we started ordering take out from restaurants and eating either on the beach or pool deck for lunch, a luxury for all!
The meals were always delicious and they were never shy about portions. Often I would order 6 meals for our family of 5 (swimming all day made for some hungry kiddos) and the wait staff would still ask if we wanted to order anything else. I remember one night at dinner (Barefoot, one of our favorites) I ordered a coconut shrimp appetizer. My kids loved it so much they ended up ordering 3 more.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being relaxing, how would you rate your experience?
A 10 for sure! Other than Jet Blue giving our seats away (we got them back thankfully), everything was super easy and so smooth! It didn’t take long for us to fall into the perfect beach/vacation mode routine.
What are your top tips for taking this kind of vacation?
Bring a stroller if you have little ones. We brought a stroller and didn’t use it that much in the beginning of the week but by midweek my little ones were losing steam and because the property is so large and spread out there is quite a bit of walking. I would also recommend the Italian Village. Don’t worry about dinner reservations as the only restaurant on property that takes them is Kimonos (the Japanese steakhouse). You can make that reservation when you check in. Also, I would recommend taking advantage of the 20-minute complimentary photo session. You can book that online before your trip or reserve a time slot once you get there.
Were there any challenges?
I honestly can’t think of one. It was just so easy! Some may worry about getting overwhelmed because the property is so large and while it definitely is, it didn’t take us long to find our way around. It was also extremely helpful that staff members always walked us to our destination when we asked where something was.
Did you feel the trip was good value for what you got?
Definitely. It was pricy but the second we were on property and checked into our room both my husband and I looked at each other and said, “This was worth it. ” A 2 bedroom suite, 3 a la carte meals a day for 5 people, unlimited food and drink, a water park, and unlimited water sports….you really can’t beat it!
Would you recommend this vacation to others?
100%! We loved everything about this vacation. It’s only a 3 hour flight from NY, a 10 minute car ride to the property and once you’re there you really don’t need to leave as the activities are endless. The other great thing is how perfect this resort is for kids of all ages. It’s perfect for little kids with all of the Sesame Street activities and it’s great for tweens/teens as they have ongoing activities including a tween/teen lounge, an x-box lounge and unlimited water sports.
Thanks so much for joining us, Jess! Who isn’t drooling over the sound of their vacation? Doesn’t get much more ideal than that!
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